Lunch Bag Design – Searching for the best way to make the bag waterproof

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by aika | Posted in From My Work Room | No comments yet. | 2624 views on this post

Hello there! I hope you're enjoying a beautiful month of August wherever you are in the world. Today I’m sharing a report on my lunch bag design made of wool felt still in progress.

Last time, I laminated vinyl directly to felt and made the 4th prototype of a lunch bag, but it ended up with a failure (see this post).

lunch bag design, laminated felt

lunch bag design, laminated felt

lunch bag design, laminated felt

After that I have been test-using the 3rd prototype with laminated inner bag both as a lunch bag and regular bag (the reason why I needed to laminate the fabric / felt was to prevent the felt from being stained by liquid out of a lunch box because wool felt is not machine-washable). And I figured out 2 things.

lunch bag design, laminated inner bag

lunch bag design, laminated inner bag

1. I have to say that my idea to close the inner bag by folding doesn’t work. If you use both hands you can fold it quickly and beautifully, but you can’t always use both hands. Contrary, fastening by a zipper is much easier. So I am thinking to use a zipper for the opening of the bag.

2. Although I thought that applying “Iron-on-vinyl” on inner bag was an excellent solution, I am not satisfied with the feel of the laminated fabric after using it for more than a month. The textile of the inner bag is 100% linen and the laminating sheet changed its natural touch completely in a bad way. It’s crispy and being cracked like baking paper. It’s not elastic like usual laminated fabric or oil cloth.

Is this just my opinion? I searched for other feedbacks of people who used the same laminating sheet in the internet. The result was like this: those who made works for themselves were more or less disappointed because the feel of laminated fabrics was not like what they expected, and those who made works as gifts were happy for the material. Well, I think I should believe my sense. 

So I thought I have to find a similar product like “Ion-on-vinyl” but better one, or ask laminate-processing company to laminate on a fabric in Finland. In spite of searching after searching, I didn’t find a Finnish company that could process laminating. Was I using wrong words for searching? This kind of thing happens to me often… I lost my way.

Then I asked advices from Finnish friends on Facebook if they knew any laminate-processing company and what kinds of solutions could be left instead of laminating. My Finnish relative gave me a name of a laminate processing company (thank you, Virpi!), and I quickly sent an inquiry to them. And… I got an answer that they don’t have such a product like “Iron-on-vinyl”, and minimum order quantity for laminating service was far from my need.

Still, my friends suggested 2 ways that I could try:

  1. Use waterproofing splay
  2. Use fixative to make an waterproof layer

There is a waterproofing splay for furniture fabric available, so I can test with it on felt. Fixative is a liquid usually sprayed over a finished piece of artwork to better preserve it and prevents smudging. For my case of making fabric waterproof, I found that I could use acrylic varnish or acrylic medium. So now, I got a waterproofing splay, a water-based varnish splay, and an acrylic medium. Let’s test with them!

water-proofing splay

splay varnish

acrylic medium

1. Testing with waterproofing splay

This splay smelled bad.. I felt it’s bad for my health to work with. The color and texture of the wool felt didn’t change after splaying. I dropped soy sauce on the felt, and pressed with bottom of a glass, then wiped with dry kitchen paper, then with wet kitchen paper.

lunch bag design, waterproofing splay test, soy sauce

lunch bag design, waterproofing splay test, soy sauce pressed with a glass

lunch bag design, waterproofing splay test, soy sauce on felt

lunch bag design, waterproofing splay test, soy sauce wiped

It worked! How about ketchup?

lunch bag design, waterproofing splay test, ketchup on felt

lunch bag design, waterproofing test, ketchup presssed

lunch bag design, waterproofing test, ketchup wiped with dry kitchen towel

lunch bag design, waterproof test, ketchup washed by wet kitchen towel

The stain of ketchup remained. Neither cleaning with wet kitchen paper nor paper with detergent worked.

2. Testing with splay varnish

I splayed 2 thin layers at intervals of more than 12hours, and then waited another 48 hours to let it dry following its instruction. It really takes time to complete the process, and if the time isn’t given, the surface can be sticky. The color and texture of the felt didn’t change after splaying.

lunch bag design, waterproof test, splay varnish, comparison before and after splaying

lunch bag design, waterproof test, splay varnish, ketchup and soy sauce

lunch bag design, waterproof test, splay varnish, ketchup and soy sauce pressed

lunch bag design, waterproof test, splay varnish, ketchup and soy sauce wiped

lunch bag design, waterproof test, splay varnish, ketchup and soy sauce cleaned by wet towel

lunch bag design, waterproof test, splay varnish, ketchup and soy sauce cleaned with detergent

Soy sauce went off by wet kitchen paper, but ketchup didn’t go off even with detergent.

3. Testing with acrylic medium

I painted 2 thin layers of acrylic medium on felt with brush at intervals. It smelled like acrylic color which was familiar for me and even made me remember my school life more than 20 years ago :). The color of felt became darker and the texture became hard (still elastic though) like sandpaper, which I’m afraid to be uncomfortable for users as a bag. Anyways, let’s see the result.

lunch bag design, waterproofing test, acrylic medium on felt

lunch bag design, water proofing test, acrylic medium on felt, soy sauce and ketchup

lunch bag design, waterproof test, acrylic medium, soy sauce and ketchup pressed

lunch bag design, waterproofing test, acrylic medium, soy sauce and ketchup wiped off by paper towel

lunch bag design, water proofing test, soy sauce and ketchup wiped by wet towel

It WORKED like a charm! Both soy sauce and ketchup went off by wiping with wet kitchen paper. The problem of acrylic medium is the sandpaper-like texture of felt. Well… I think I must make another prototype with acrylic medium on felt to check how it feels and how making process goes.

And, I think I have still another solution: buying commercial laminated fabric or oil cloth for making an inner bag.
Although design variation is limited, using laminated fabric or oil cloth that are on sale can be the simplest and most cost-effective way with maintaining high quality, and there is one more good thing for users: they are machine washable.

Let’s see the next. This journey still continues.

 

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